Thursday, December 15, 2011

December Joyathon: Guest Post + Giveaway with Tiffany James

Meet Tiffany:
Tiffany James is a contemporary romance author. Known for being a bit of a drama queen as a child, she now directs that energy into creating characters, conflicts and hard-won happily ever afters. She can most often be found avoiding housework of any kind by sticking her nose in a book or typing madly on her computer, weaving stories of contemporary romance packed with love, laughter and a little help from her characters’ friends.

Where To Find Tiffany: Twitter | Facebook | Author Page

I LOVE the holidays - the decorations, the food, the family, the friends, the kids’ programs, the parties…

And the music!

The rule in our family has always been: “Absolutely NO Christmas music until after Thanksgiving”.
coming 2012

Come closer. *Crooking my finger and leaning in* I’ll tell you a little secret…I cheat. Every. Single. Year.

I can’t help it. I adore holiday music and as soon as the weather turns cold I’m ready to pull it out and get the party started. But things were a little different this year. Darling Kati gave me this blog post and quite by accident gave me a legitimate reason to whip out my holiday music a full SIX weeks early. I’m in heaven!

As soon as I got Kati’s email I dug out my holiday CDs, slipped my I-Pod into its I-Home and listened for hours on end. I even sang along (I hope at Thanksgiving this year you were grateful that you weren’t here with me for that little...event).

So, without revealing additional shameful secrets and without further ado, here are my “Five Must Listen to Holiday Albums” (along with four Honorable Mentions…please, you didn’t really think I could just pick five, did you?):

#5: A Christmas Treasury of Classics from Avon, Various Artists

My mom used to be an Avon lady which is how we stumbled onto this little holiday nugget. When traveling to my grandparents’ house it would play for hours on end. “Round and Round the Christmas Tree” by Bing Crosby is one of the highlights on this album and still my brother’s favorite. I also enjoy “The Christmas Song” by Kenny Rogers (yes, I used to have a huge crush on him and, yes, I’m showing my age with that tarnished tidbit). Another great one is “The Twelve Days of Christmas” by John Denver and The Muppets.

#4: Holiday Spirits and Christmas Cheers by Straight No Chaser

I love these guys! And I cheated by using Straight No Chaser and their two holiday albums as a single entry. I make my own rules – probably best to get used to it. :0)

Since falling on my face many, many times when trying to sing without music (most recently at one of my husband’s work functions *face is beet red while I’m frantically praying the video doesn’t end up on YouTube*), I’ve developed major appreciation for acapella singers. Straight No Chaser is one of those amazing groups!

My faves from these two albums: “Carol of the Bells”, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” (the live version is incredibly entertaining, especially the guy who keeps chiming in with “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel”), “Christmas Can-Can” and “Who Spiked the Eggnog”.

#3: Caroling by the Air Force Band and Singing Sergeants

Amazing musical and choral arrangements make this album a holiday must have. Plus it’s the Air Force Band – you can indulge your love of holiday music and support USAF at the same time.

My faves from this album: “Carol of the Bells” (I have just about every recording of this song in existence), “Still, Still, Still”, and “Adam Lay Ybounden”.

#2: The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky

When I was in high school I had a friend named Heather. Around the holidays we drove to Aspen (about forty minutes from my mountain hometown) to see The Nutcracker Ballet. Not only was it a wonderful show, but the experience afforded me a glimpse of the future and freedom. It was just me and Heather– all on our own. One year she drove her dad’s sports car (uh, totally cool). I glimpsed a grown-up and sophisticated version of myself. It was an experience I’ll never forget and the music from the show always calls to mind the newness, the excitement, the beauty of the trip and the ballet.

My favorite Nutcracker songs: “Op.71 - Act 2 - No. 12b Character Dances: Coffee (Arabian Dance)”, “Op.71 - Act 1 - No. 9 Scene and Waltz of the Snowflakes”, and “The Nutcracker, Op.71 - Act 1 -No. 1 The Christmas Tree”

We’ve reached number one. Drum roll, please…

#1: Two words: Bing Crosby

I’m cheating again here. Bing Crosby has at least four holiday albums, and I love them all! I still remember the first time I watched White Christmas. The singing, the dancing, the costumes, and the setting all entranced me. Since then I’ve associated Bing with the holidays. Not to cut Danny, Rosemary and Vera short – they were awesome, too – but (here I go spilling secrets again) I’ve always had kind of a crush on Mr. Crosby.

My favorites (hang on tight – this is a long list): “White World of Winter”, “We Wish You the Merriest”, “Christmas Carol Medley”, “Christmas in Kilarney”, “Mele Kalikimaka”, and of course, “Round and Round the Christmas Tree”.

Now for the Honorable Mentions. I’ll spare you the commentary here.

#4: Christmas with the Beach Boys

oh Michael Buble
#3: Michael BublĂ©’s holiday albums: Christmas (2011) and Let It Snow (2007)

#2: A Victoria Christmas in Song

#1: Andy Williams’ Christmas Album and Merry Christmas

So, at our house we celebrate Christmas, but we also celebrate Solstice (in our own unique way) with “Solstice Elves”. I didn’t come up with this idea. I found it online when I was searching for holiday rituals to incorporate into our family traditions. We draw names then morph into elves by doing something nice for our “elf-ee”. Most of the time it’s making the bed, doing a loathed chore, leaving a card or note, but sometimes we give little gifts (my favorite is Bonne Bell Lipsmackers). On Solstice we have a special dinner and tell who we had for our “elf-ee”.

What I would love to know is your favorite holiday/s and how you celebrate them. And, of course, what is your favorite music associated with those holidays.

A big thanks to Kati for having me at Romancing Rakes today and to all of you for joining me!

Wow Tiffany! Those are some fabulous albums. I have to agree with Straight No Chaser and BublĂ©. And Bing! White Christmas is one of my favorite movies of all time. I love your Solstice tradition. 

Abducted from her convent school, headstrong Scottish beauty Jennifer Merrick does not easily surrender to Royce Westmoreland, Duke of Claymore. Known as "The Wolf," his very name strikes terror in the hearts of his enemies. But proud Jennifer will have nothing to do with the fierce English warrior who holds her captive, this handsome rogue who taunts her with his blazing arrogance. Boldly she challenges his will...until the night he takes her in his powerful embrace, awakening in her an irresistible hunger. And suddenly Jennifer finds herself ensnared in a bewildering web...a seductive, dangerous trap of pride, passion, loyalty, and overwhelming love.
Where To Buy: Amazon |  B&N | Book Depository
Book Extras: Read an Excerpt

Tiffany is giving away a copy of A KINGDOM OF DREAMS by Judith McNaught to one(1) lucky reader. Here's how to get your hands on a fierce English warrior:
  • Leave a comment answering Tiffany's question along with your email addy, ninja style: yourname at gmail dot com.
  • Fill out the rafflecopter form below. You must answer Tiffany's question. All other entries are optional.
Easy peasy right? Don't forget to enter for the awesome super secret prize here.

A huge thank you to Tiffany for participating in the Joyathon and for giving away a copy of A KINGDOM OF DREAMS.

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